Though he directed all 18 episodes of next month’s new season of Twin Peaks, David Lynch hasn’t directed a feature film since 2006’s interminable eyesore Inland Empire. Jon Nguyen, Rick Barnes, and Olivia Neergard-Holm’s documentary David Lynch: The Art Life shows that he’s been keeping busy day-to-day doing what he’s done all his life: making art. Unlike the similarly titled Pretty as a Picture: The Art of David Lynch, this film focuses on his painting and sculpture work, and on his early admiration of artists who did nothing but smoke, drink coffee, and make stuff. The Art Life’s timeline bumps up against the beginning of production on his first feature film, Eraserhead, the making of which Lynch described in his own monologue documentary, Eraserhead Stories.
Lynch speaks into the same old-timey microphone for both films, although throughout most of The Art Life, he’s heard in voiceover that is not always related to the footage of him working in his studio. And though it will mostly appeal to fans of Lynch and/or modern art, everyone can appreciate a harrowing story involving his college roommate Peter Wolf — later of the J. Geils Band — which fits nicely in the canon of “driving a car while hopped up on goofballs and somehow not dying” tales.
David Lynch: The Art Life
Opens Friday at the Roxie Theater.